This surname of O'BRYAN was a baptismal name 'the son of Bryant'. While O'BRYAN was occasionally and confusedly adopted by descendants of the O'Briens, it is the distinct surname of a Leinster family of Anlgo-Norman descent, long established in that province and particularly in County Kilkenny. Early records of the name mention Radulphus filus Brien, listed as a tenant in the Domesday Book of 1086 and Bennett Brien, 1166 County Norfolk. Briendeus de Scal was documented in London in 1114, and Ralph Brien apppears in Yorkshire in 1207. Benet Bryan was recorded in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379, and Edward Bryant appears in County Lancashire in 1400. Later instances of the name include John Briand who married Barbara Backhouse at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1772. Ireland is one of the earliest sources of the development of patronymic names in northern Europe. Irish Clan or bynames can be traced back to the 4th century B.C. and Mac (son of) and O (grandson or ancestor of) evolved from this base, the original literal meaning of which has been lost due to the absence of written records and linguistic ambivalences which subtly but inexorably became adopted through usage. Genealogists and lexographers accept that the patronymic base does not refer to a location, quite the contrary. The use of the prefix 'Bally' (town of) attaching to the base name, identifying the location. The base root was also adopted by people residing in the demographic area without a common ancestor. These groups called 'Septs' were specially prevalent in Ireland. The first Normans arrived in Ireland in the 12th and 13th centuries to form an alliance with the King of Leinster. Under Elizabeth I in the 16th century, settlers from England established themselves around Dublin, then under English control and Presbyterian Scots emigrated to Ulster, introducing English and Scottish roots. The American poet William Cullen Bryant (1794-1887) came of a New England family, being descended from Stephen Bryant, who had settled in Plymouth Colony in the year 1632.
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